Gallup poll: American confidence in the news media keeps getting lower


Just 18 percent of Americans have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the TV news media, while newspapers perform a little better at 22 percent, according to the latest Gallup poll.

U.S. adults are no more or less confident in the Internet: only 19 percent indicated “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in Web news. That’s more or less the same as in 1999, the only other time Gallup measured confidence in Internet news. But back then, TV and newspapers were hovering in the mid-30s, so the gap between confidence in traditional news sources and the Web has narrowed.


Overall, Andrew Dugan reports at Gallup, “confidence in newspapers has declined by more than half since its 1979 peak of 51%, while TV news has seen confidence ebb from its high of 46% in 1993, the first year that Gallup asked this question.” The three news sources Gallup asked about “ranked in the bottom third of 17 different U.S. institutions measured in the poll.”

Conservatives (15 percent) have much less confidence in newspapers than liberals do (34 percent). But “conservatives are slightly more likely to express confidence in TV news (19%) than liberals (15%).”

At least the media isn’t the least trusted institution in America: It still inspires way more confidence than Congress. Just 7 percent of Americans have confidence in Congress — the lowest confidence rating of any institution Gallup has ever measured. Confidence in the military is at 74 percent.

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  • PhelpsHawk

    No surprise here. Unhappily, I think the “why” is pretty clear … we are trivial, sensational, often wrong, and frequently utterly disconnected from any rational community values. Still, for the few who still care, we need to make sure that we reinforce the inherent imperative of a well-informed public, as well as the few places one can still go to find verifiable, pertinent information.

  • JTFloore

    it would be nice if these surveys would try to answer WHY the public had these views.

  • ravis

    I’ve seen these stories regularly for years, yet never have I read one accompanied by analysis about why public trust has plummeted. Best not to look, I guess. Blame the public.

  • Dave

    Fortunately, the major US news organizations and journalists in general have accepted these results the last few years with humility and an earnest pledge to win back the trust of the American public by reporting the truth instead of approved narrative, eschewing partisanship, and actually becoming at least minimally competent on the subjects they cover.

    Hahahahahaha. Bet I had you there for a second.